The AFL-CIO is governed by a group of national labor leaders, who run the 12 million-member labor federation like it was their personal corporate property.
They get their power because the AFL-CIO Constitution gives them a majority of convention votes that, in advance, guarantees their election and re-election, without any opposition from potential candidates.
At the 2009 convention, the federation’s Executive Council of some 51 members was hand-picked for a sham election, voted by delegates who did not even know the names of the candidates.
It is a fact that for more than 100 years, no officer or member of a State AFL or City Central Labor Council or local union has ever been elected to the policy-making AFL-CIO. To put it bluntly, the AFL-CIO is a “frozen” organization, with the same Old Guard of mostly middle-to-elderly white males making all of the major decisions.
AFL-CIO leaders don’t respect the rights of union members, because they feel they don’t have to. They meet behind closed doors and never reveal what takes place at their meetings, especially if there are disagreements. We are rarely consulted and our comments on policy issues are routinely ignored. When we propose suggestions or offer criticism, their only response is silence, repeated, uninterrupted silence.
AFL-CIO’s silence extends to the operation of its finances. We have no idea of how our leaders spend our dues money. There has not been a single financial report to members, despite numerous requests.
Trumka and his coterie show no evidence of wanting to rebuild the AFL-CIO. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that some 800 union members had left the labor movement in the two recession years, there was no alarm at AFL-CIO headquarters and no effort to regain those former union members.
Without Member Involvement, the AFL-CIO Has No Future
Trumka still refuses to take any major non-violent direct action that will command the attention of Congress and President Obama . That’s why the AFL-CIO has so little influence on legislation in Washington.
There is plenty of evidence of AFL-CIO’s decline. Many unions are being forced to make major concession in wages, higher healthcare costs and lower retirement income. Wages, especially for low-income workers, are stagnant or worse. Today’s minimum wages buy far less food, fuel and other necessities than ii did a decade or more ago. But AFL-CIO leaders have not launched a campaign for higher minimums